How to provide great feedback to your graphic designer

Successful design begins with questions and communication between the you (client) and your designer. Typically, this takes the form of a creative brief, where designer and client meet to define the design problem, reveal project critical details, outline goals, and discuss the scope of work to be done. This initial conversation sets the stage for a successful project, but an ongoing and effective feedback loop between client and designer is equally important.

“I just don’t like it.”

Simply telling a designer that you don’t like a typeface, color, or image isn’t quite enough. The designer’s role in this process is to solve problems and find solutions. To do so, the problem needs to be explained—what is ineffective and why. These comments should be focused on customers, goals, and outcomes rather than personal preferences. Something more helpful might be: “The typeface you recommend here feels a little too fancy for my HVAC company and its clients.”

“Can you make it blue?”

This type of feedback is difficult for a designer to work with. You may not be a fan of the mauve your designer selected, but it was likely selected as a strategic color for your audience. If you don’t agree with a visual decision your designer made, explain the problem—why you disagree with the choice of mauve, or why you are requesting blue. Again, comments should be focused on customers, goals, and outcomes rather than personal preferences. You can also ask why your designer has recommended mauve.

What if I still don’t love it?

This is all about what your customers will respond to, and not about what you like. Does this mean that sometimes you may pay for something that isn’t your favorite? Perhaps, but with clear and objective communication and a skilled designer, you will understand why it is what it is. You will be confident that it is the best solution for your audience and that it will work hard on your behalf. It should be easy to like that.

It takes two

This line of communication is the responsibility of both you and your designer. Your designer needs to ask the right questions at the start of the project, and you need to provide complete and well-informed information in return (if you change your mind on who your customers are later, expect some pushback and some additional costs). And both parties must remember to evaluate each stage of the project through the customer lens.

Good designers are more than just software technicians—they are problem solvers and solution finders who communicate complex information visually. Find someone you can trust who does great work, and make sure they value communication in their process.

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